An Expat's story of his move to Singapore
The following story was told to me when I met this expat. I really resonated with me as an agent and I ask him for his permission to share his story with everyone. :)
Back in 2012, I secured a job at a renowned multi-national company in Singapore. This was the first time I was going to work outside my home country – Ukraine. As any new person in a foreign country, I was initially worried about finding a good place to reside with a family including two preschoolers.
In general Singapore offers good living conditions and a quick internet search revealed a plethora of choices for finding residences across the island. I decided to consult a real estate agent and just called the first number on the property I had a liking. Mr Patrick, was the agent who spoke to me, he was extremely professional and guided me through with patience answering the various questions first timers like me have. He further made me understand the standard practices in real estate in Singapore, such as the agency fees, duties, deposits and advance rentals.
He discussed the various locations I could choose on the island. Near to work, near to beach, or near to cultural hotspots such as Chinatown or Little India. I decided to head up north to quieter areas. I finally decided upon Sembawang, a quaint little town with access to malls, beaches and good local hawker fare. Luckily there was a preschool nearby for my little ones, and lots of shops for my spouse. I must say that the Kway Teow I had the day of viewing a unit was exceptional, and could have factored in my decision.
Within a week, we rounded on a cozy flat near the MRT station. It was a good deal so I closed the deal within a day and moved in the following week. During these stages, we signed on a letter of intent, got an approval from the building authority, and finally signed on the Tenancy Agreement. The Tenancy Agreement is an important document accompanied with a list of inventory of articles in the house. Mr Patrick, did not just find me a good abode, but he further went ahead and checked my preferences for furnishing the new place as required. I got some old furniture moved out and a got a new sofa. The unit looked absolutely stunning and spacious. All the kitchen cabinets, bathroom accessories, and wardrobes were all in good condition, and I had no complaints at all. The landlord seemed to be a good guy too.
As a standard procedure the agent also submitted documentation for Electricity and Water. Also the stamp duty on the tenancy agreement. All this for a fee of half a month of rent. With the level of support and professionalism exhibited by Mr Patrick, this fee was totally worth the seamless experience of landing in a foreign country and getting an affordable place to call home for the next 2 years.
I have always recommended by colleagues to get a good housing agent who can evaluate their needs and suggest a good house to call home. After all the where you spend time with your family matters the most.